Coalition needs 'answers not excuses' says Ed Miliband


Labour leader Ed Miliband speaking with members of the public in Harlow.

Related Stories

The government has run out of "excuses" for the "failure" of its economic policy, Ed Miliband has said.

The Labour leader told party activists in Essex that coalition policies had "blunted aspiration" and ministers were "standing up for the wrong people".

He called for action in Wednesday's Queen's Speech to cap energy and rail fare rises and reverse tax changes.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg are set to restate their commitment to economic stability at a joint event later.

The three party leaders are all visiting Essex to set out their stall in the wake of last week's local elections - which saw Labour gain hundreds of seats at the expense of the two coalition parties - and ahead of the launch of the government's future legislative programme on Wednesday.

Jobs priority

Speaking in Harlow, where Labour regained control of the council last week, Mr Miliband said the public had given the coalition of the benefit of the doubt since 2010 but had now lost patience with it.

Start Quote

What people want from the prime minister and deputy prime minister are answers not excuses”

End Quote Ed Miliband

While long-term youth unemployment had trebled in the last year in places like Harlow, Mr Miliband said, the coalition's focus was on cutting taxes for the wealthiest in society instead of helping ordinary families.

"The first priority is to get our young people back to work," he said. "Tax bankers' bonuses and create jobs for our young people. Then let's get on with tackling the problem with people's living standards."

Comparing the current economic situation with the 1980s, a period when he said the Conservatives claimed they "stood up" for aspiration, he said people trying to find a job or to buy a home now were finding their ambitions "being blunted by what is happening in our economy".

'Crisis of politics'

"What people want from the prime minister and deputy prime minister are answers not excuses," he said. "Not excuses blaming somebody else, blaming the eurozone, but answers about why they promised change and things have got worse not better. That is the reality.

"If they really want to learn the lessons of those local elections, they have got to learn that... economic failure with unfairness piled on top is not the answer. Whatever the excuses, whatever the explanations, they are not going to wash with people."

But Mr Miliband said he was dismayed that turnout at the local elections in Harlow was less than 29% and Labour and other parties had "a lot of work" to do to regain public trust.

"I want to reach out and understand why you do not trust any politicians and don't believe any of us can answer the questions you are facing in your lives," he said.

"I think there is a crisis of politics in this country, of people thinking that I am not going to engage with politics and 'you are all the same and you all break your promises."

The BBC News Channel's chief political correspondent Norman Smith said it was no surprise the Labour leader was trying to pin the UK's economic woes directly on No 10 as all the leaders sought to gain the initiative ahead of what is being seen as a crucial week in setting the political agenda.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    i think that if Nick and Dave didn't see this coming it shows just how out of touch with reality they are.

    They bang on about making difficult decisions, so far I'm yet to see them make one.

    Its easy to raise taxes for the families in the middle, reduce public pensions and bleed every penny out of the public sector workers.

    Tough choices? Tackle the causes of this mess and your own expenses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    This seems to be the most damaging parts of politics the micro management of chaotic systems and system which required a long time to see results such as the economy and schools

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Listened to Cameron over the weekend telling us they have "taken it on the chin" and we have "heard what you are saying" and I thought thank God for that!

    Then I heard the other arrogant posh boy who doesn't know the price of a pint of milk AKA Osborn telling me "there is no alternative to what needs to be done".It sounds like they'll ditch lords reform but it's the same old same old for us surfs

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Unlike the coalition that had only a vague idea much of a mess the country was in before it got into office Labour know just what to expect because they know the task they left was hugh. but they still don't give any idea what policies they would have if they got back in. If they dont have any ideas now they never will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Unite's leaderhip is well publicised in their views having called for "all forms of civil disobedience within the law"! The base line of the tanker dirver dispute is Unite's attempt to force national pay barganing on the tanker driver employer's; conveniently 'disguised' as 'elf n safety! Open your eyes to their real agenda! They want 13 more years of unprescedented influence in No.10!

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    49 " tax avoiding leeches "

    Do you go out of your way to pay taxes you don't need to?

    Thought not.

    If there was a choice on the tax return, tick box 'A' and pay tax at 30% or tick box 'B' and pay tax at 20%, which box would you tick? would ANYONE out there tick box 'B'?

    It's like calling someone driving at 49 mph in a 50 mph zone a "speeding ticket avoiding leech"

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Tory /LibDem policy reduces employee status to wage slavery with no employment rights. Business is Best dogma results in thousands of lucrative firms creating no wealth. Lose your job and you are scrounging scum. People working hard in the public sector are "socialist leeches". The pension you have paid for (NI) is now an "unaffordable burden".
    And the rich get richer.
    Welcome to Hell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Clegg still sickens me. I used to repect the man before the election in 2010. That respect disappeared when he joined the coalition. His actions and behaviours mean that the lib Dems will never get my support again. Some betrayed trusts just cannot be forgiven.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    I am surprised that the your comment was allowed given the tone of your comment. What you are others who moan about the fact the EM was part of the previous government shows a alck of understanding that he was not the leader or even no 2 and therefore followed the PM... just as people have to do in private industry. As well labour knew what they had to done with growth to show for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    AndyC 37
    "If it happened in 2008, why did Labour wait until May 2010 to introduce the 50% tax bracket?"
    The answer to that is obvious. Surprised you couldn't work it out for yourself Andy. Their response was measured and flexible. Not the silly sort of knee-jerk, Corporal Jones, panic mongering, debt bandwaggonning nonsense that the Tories came up with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    To get out of this Terrible mess which Labour & yes their Entitled Supports have created
    We are going to have to be smacked and smacked hard..
    The workers have smacked & bled dry for 13 years.
    Now it the turn of the Guzzlers..
    We spend more than we can rob from the workers.. Ergo huge cuts required..
    No other solution is acceptable..

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    #39 Assynt
    Why won't Labour condemn Union strikes?
    You mean ban them?
    Your propaganda is absurd.

    The most unrepentant unreformed and dangerous workers in this country are mostly ensconsed within the square mile.
    Why should corrupt tax avoiding leeches like this be allowed to dictate to the country.
    I'm sick of their deceit, their blackmail and obscene greed.Cubed CDO's to the lot of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    If Ed a) wasn't part of the government that caused all our current problems and b) actually had a definitive plan for what he'd do differently / better than the coalition then he might have some credibility.

    As it is, he's just another whining idiot who's complaining because he doesn't know what else to do.

    The coalition remains our best option for the time being.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    39. Assynt:

    "Why wont Labour condemn union strikes?"

    Surely condemning or condoning a strike depends on the reasons for that strike? One could equally ask why don't the Tories (or Labour for that matter) condemn the employers for forcing their workers to call strikes? Do you even know why the tanker drivers were considering a strike?

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    @41 Nick. Exactly. I heard today that Punch and Judy was celebrating its 350th birthday and that's all these politicians seem to do. For Gods sake, let's work together and get it sorted. I don't care about the politics, JUST GET ON WITH FIXING THE COUNTRY!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    The tories are fond of reminding us that Labour were in power for 13 years casually forgetting they had 13 years to come up with a policy, any policy and what did they come up with? Well look around you thats what they came up with. 3 million+ on the dole a dead economy, privatisation of the NHS & Roads and anything else they can sell, Web censorship ,Granny Tax, Pasty Tax, Caravan Tax.Well done

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    i think the lib dems should pack it in and let there be a general election

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    'Crisis of politics' ?

    'Crisis in banking' - 'Crisis in our NHS' - 'Crisis in Social Care' - 'Crisis on growth' - 'Crisis for the young, elderly, sick and unemployed!'

    Policing stretched, council's pushed, sure starts closed, charity's funding withdrawn, care services cut, legitimate disability claimants made to live in fear... the list goes on and on!

    Is it time for change yet?

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Sorry Ed, but your contentless rhetoric is giving me an Ed-ache.

    Nick's House of Lords reform should be a candidate for the TV show Pointless - we asked 100 people what they wanted from the government...

    Dave's "focus on what's important" might have been credible if only he'd said, important to whom?

    You all have to buck your ideas up if you want to regain people's trust.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    @35. Peter Hall

    Agree - there is very little difference between their deficit respective reduction plans. If we'd had lib dems then less spending cuts, bigger tax hikes.

    All the main parties are agreed that the massive fiscal stimulus (as despite the cuts/austerity vocab, that is what it is) cannot go on indefinitely.

    If Ed M/B could just say that, I'd have much more respect for Labour.


Page 10 of 12


More Politics stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.